Jake Arrieta already admitted he was feeling nostalgic upon his return to Wrigley Field on Tuesday. And that was before his tribute after the first inning.
For the first time since signing a three-year contract worth $75 million with the Phillies in March, Arrieta returned to the Friendly Confines. Before the game, he shared hugs and laughs with his former teammates and manager.
As tradition, the Cubs paid tribute to Arrieta, who played an instrumental part in the Cubs’ three consecutive National League Division Series appearances and 2016 World Series championship.
The tribute video featured highlights of Arrieta’s best outings over the last five seasons and shots of the many champagne showers and Gatorade baths Arrieta endured with the Cubs.
After the video was over, Arrieta was met by a roaring applause as he stepped out of the visitor’s dugout. He took off his hat and waved it around while thanking the crowd for their love.
Watch the tribute
Warning: You may want to have a tissue — or two — near by.
Before the game, Arrieta met with Chicago media in the visitor’s dugout for 15 minutes. He shared a heartfelt message to Cubs fans:
“Thank you for the support through thick and thin, through the rough times of 2013 and ’14 — believing in me, and rest of the team and taking that journey with us throughout 2016 and even ’17 when it seemed like it was a no-brainer that we were going to be in the postseason and play deep into October and have a chance to win a World Series year-in and year-out. And to have 40,000-plus here each and every night — bitter cold or humid heat — it meant a lot to us. It meant a lot to me and my family and definitely meant a lot to Cooper. I think a big part of him will be a Cubs fan for life. And that’s very special to me, so thanks to all the fans for that.”